BACKGROUND: Equations predicting age at peak height velocity (APHV) are often used to assess somatic maturity and to adjust training load accordingly. However, information on the intra-individual accuracy of APHV in youth athletes is not available.
AIM: The purpose of this study is to assess the accuracy of predication equations for the estimation of APHV in individual youth male football players.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Body dimensions were measured at least every three months in 17 elite youth male football players (11.9 ± 0.8 years at baseline) from the 2008-2009 through the 2011-2012 seasons. APHV was predicted at each observation with four suggested equations. Predicted APHV was compared to the player's observed APHV using one-sample-t-tests and equivalence-tests. Longitudinal stability was assessed by comparing the linear coefficient of the deviation to zero.
RESULTS: Predicted APHV was equivalent to the observed APHV in none of the players. A difference with a large effect size (Cohen's d > 0.8) was noted in 87% of the predictions. Moreover, predictions were not stable over time in 71% of the cases.
CONCLUSIONS: None of the evaluated prediction equations is accurate for estimating APHV in individual players nor are predictions stable over time, which limits their utility for adjusting training programmes.